Thursday, April 26, 2012

On Wednesdays, we wear pink

 AMWA at CESCOM is proud to show off our new T-shirts!

Of course, we had some pretty stellar inspiration:

Photos from the South Florida AMWA Tea--post to come!

AMWA does AMWA [Conference]

This past weekend, six members of AMWA at CESCOM made the journey south to the 70th Annual AMWA Conference, which was being held conveniently in Miami! Our branch may still be in its infancy, but we were welcomed with open arms by the strong ladies of AMWA and have no doubt that we are on track to become a valuable part of this national association. Here are some of the highlights from our trip! 

Right before we had student AMWA Elections! Hopefully next year  we'll have some FAU women on the ballot!

Every table had an experienced physician to help guide our suturing. 

Katie practices her suturing skills on a pig foot.

I was so excited to get a picture of a wisened AMWA woman wounding the pig foot that my finger got in the way.  Also please note the plates and glasses-- Even when suturing up pig feet, AMWA ladies have proper table settings.

Nikki makes sewing pig feet look so glamorous that this photo made a cameo on the Palm Beach Medical Society facebook page!

AMWA brings great joy to medical students with the suturing workshop! 

When you're a first year med student, this finished product gives you the same sense of pride I imagine parents must feel when seeing their offspring voted into the White House.

The biggest thanks to all the members of AMWA who made the conference possible (and for existing). Our small branch is proud to be a part of this organization!


Our simulation center! Photo lovingly borrowed from their website (credit given below) 

I really need to do a longer post about the simulation center, as a building full of plastic boob models, high tech mannequins that can have almost every ailment humans can have, and a jokester group of (incredibly talented and smart) faculty running the show makes for some of the best times we've had in medical school. But seeing as there's an exam on something about the brain on Monday, preceded by a quiz on the eye/orbit, it's looking like I'll only be able to share a little tidbit from this past week.

Whenever we go to the sim center, we do a two hour exercise where we rotate around four mannequins in groups of four to take a history and physical of a patient "brought into the ER." It's quite a different experience from our compliant, scripted, completely healthy standardized patients. The mannequins are manned by the sim center faculty, who are scarily good at acting out an unlimited number of different personalities that we encounter in "the ER." They sit outside the room and watch what we're doing through a one-way mirror. We're usually pretty good at not giggling too much when encountering this slew of characters, but last week was a bit of an exception.

Our small group had been prepped by our (hilarious) sim center faculty member (we'll call him Bob, to protect the innocent) who was manning our next mannequin. Our patient had arrived at the ER earlier in the day with some neurological symptoms and we were to question/examine him. I opened the door without knocking (UNFORGIVABLE SIN) and was immediately berated by the mannequin AND told by Doctor X (the MD in the room who was watching over us) that I would have failed my OSCE. Whoops. After closing the door and THEN knocking, we entered the room. In the middle of questioning/examining our patient, he began seizing. (Medical school really is just like House!) After the seizure, he began displaying more disturbing neurological symptoms consistent with stroke. Doctor X began asking guiding questions like, "What might be going on here? What would help him?"

We thought back to our basic science course from earlier that day. Ischemic stroke?

"Thrombolytics!!!" We would have made our basic science teachers proud. Sometimes, when we say things at the sim center, they magically happen. ("Let's get a CT! Oh look! There it is on the monitor!") This time, however, it seemed that just saying the name of the drug was not enough. Kind of like real life, I guess.

Doctor X questioned us further. "Who would you call then?" We all kind of looked at each other for a minute, until our FABULOUS teammate (who will remain anonymous to protect her identity) picked up the imaginary phone and declared, "Thrombolytic man?!?!?"


Followed by the door to the room SWINGING open and Bob, the mannequin magician, triumphantly marching in, putting his hands on his hips, puffing out his chest, and booming, "THROMBOLYTIC MAN!"

For the record, apparently "Neurology consult" was the correct answer.

For more information about the best sim center around, please see:

AMWA: Race for the Cure 2012

In the wee hours of the morning on January 28, 2012, members (and honorary male members) of the American Medical Women's Association at Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine traveled up to West Palm Beach to partake in the 2012 Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure.  Our goal: to support the Susan G. Komen foundation "to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in the local community." 

Race day started early, with the more ambitious ladies in our group starting the women's competitive 5k at 7am.  Forty five minutes later, our valiant male classmates led the pack of the competitive men's 5k. An hour after that, the more laid back AMWA members began the (still incredibly strenuous) 5k walk. Here are some images from our day!

Here we are walking to the start of the walk. Note how peppy we are, even after some of us have just run SUPER speedy 5ks.

The boys look forward to walking the course they had SPRINTED half an hour earlier. 

And we're off!

Your loyal historian was too distracted by all the good company to take any other photos during the first half of the walk. 

We made it! Here we all are together, after covering a combined 100k distance!

and JUST when we thought the day couldn't be any better, we passed the puppy tent on the way out.

HUGE thanks to our valiant president, Kathryn, for organizing our first official AMWA outing, and to all of our members and supporters who participated. Stay tuned for information regarding future events with AMWA at CESCOM!

Breaking Up

When I was applying to medical school, a wise, wise lady (yes, Connie) said to me, "When you're a medical student, you won't be dating anyone. You'll be dating medicine." Until now, this could not have been further from the truth. I credit medical school for introducing me to the best boyfriend a girl could ask for: Frank H. Netter, MD.

I had heard great things about Netter for years leading up to this point in my life, but I never imagined what a deep relationship we would create. The day that I ordered Netter's Atlas of Anatomy (International edition; I like the international boys) marked the beginning of our relationship. I flipped through his plates, completely overwhelmed that seven months from that day I would have scrutinized and dedicated to memory each and every one. 

Every Tuesday, for the past seven months, we've spent two hours going over Netter plates (with a couple of Moore images thrown in. But let's be honest, those are probably just to make Netter's look even better in comparison). We would then go up to lab, where we'd spend two hours dissecting and making alternate declarations of, "OOH it looks just like Netter!" or "This looks so much better in Netter." Netter's plates become the highest standard of anatomical beauty, with professors urging us to make things look "Netter perfect." (For an example of this, please see cadaver 7's anterior digastric.) 

In the back of my mind, I've know that my relationship with Netter had an expiration date. Last Tuesday marked our last anatomy lecture. We had two lectures on ear, nose, throat, pharynx, and at exactly 9:50, we were done. Then, over this last week, we've gone into anatomy-practical mode, spending spare hours up in the lab, going over the bodies (which no longer look Netter perfect after 7 months of being explored), trying to commit all of the tiny vessels, nerves, muscles, and crevasses of the head to memory.  

And then, this morning at exactly 10:57, it was all over. Seven months, four practicals, and countless lectures, labs, dissections, lab nights and quizzes later, we have completed gross anatomy. We have, at one point or another, been able to point to any structure on our 8 cadavers and been able to give you its name (in latin).  As first year students, we spend most of our days fully aware of how little we know and how much training lies ahead of us. But today, we can celebrate our knowledge of anatomy. 

Netter, I'd like to thank you for the past seven months. I know we've had our differences, and I've had a couple of choice words with you during late nights with your cross sections. But in the end, you were always there for me to go to when lecture was confusing or when I couldn't face looking at the brachial plexus in lab. For seven months, I had the privilege of saying that you were the only man in my bed, and it is with a heavy heart that I banish you to my bookshelf for the forseeable future. 

So it turns out that Connie was right, as per usual. I'll go back to single lady life for the rest of my forseeable medical career, but I'm pretty sure Netter will be moving on to the next first year medical girl pretty quickly. 


(Here are some celebratory images from the week!)
We had to work up to studying the material that looked back at us.

Saturday night date in the lab gets romantic when you realize the brain halves resemble friendship necklaces. Kind of. Sort of. 

12:00pm: GROUP TWO FINISHES THE PRACTICAL! The Stephanie's and Jackie set the bar high for this album.

Gingers Do Anatomy.

Please note that during this entire time I was shouting "HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY LOOK HAPPY GIVE ME HAPPY WHO'S HAPPY HOW HAPPY ARE WE HAPPY HAPPY PEOPLE SMILE SMILE HAPPY." This is how Tommy interpreted that.

Please note that our interaction 3 hours prior had ended with, "Caudate? Caudate. Caudate? Putamen. Where's the caudate? That's the thalamus. Caudate? WHERE'S THE CAUDATE? I'm not putting Globus Pallidus. I'm just not doing it. CAUDATE CAUDATE. Putamen?"



Eric attended all of the dissections--even when not scheduled to. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the sign of a devoted M1.

EDITED TO ADD: This post is dedicated to John, without whose iPod cord I would not have been able to create this post in the middle of the day. Also without whom I would not be able to live. 

Summary of Neuro

For the next nine weeks, we're in Neuroscience and Behavior. Whenever we mention this to any MDs (or other med students) they groan and make death grimaces. Here is a short anecdote to keep you entertained for the next 9 weeks while I struggle to remember which facial nerves allow me to grimace through this block.

Professor: "To start off, let's keep things simple with a mnemonic. Just remember 2-2-1-1. That's 2 eyes, 2 ears, 1 nose, 1 mouth."  Oh hey! A little joke! Maybe neuro won't be so bad!


The next time I see you, I'll be able to tell you exactly how the visual pathways allow me to see you. 
Lots of Love,

Netter + Google

With the first anatomy practical approaching, we've been spending a lot of time with Netter, Moore, the bone boxes, and the cadavers. And for good reason: our practical is 50 questions, 50 minutes, and 15 percent of our grade. One third of it consists of identifying any of the arteries, nerves, veins, muscles, or miscellaneous structures in the upper portion of the body (minus the head and neck, we haven't gotten there yet). One third of it is identifying these structures on various types of images (CT, MRI, arteriogram, radiograph, etc.) The last third is identifying structures on bones. These are either plastic, or leftover from students who failed previous anatomy practicals (we can only assume).

Given these circumstances, I thought I'd take a welcome study break at 8:48 on a Saturday morning to bring to you the project that Google SHOULD be working on. I present: 

Google Maps + Netter: The Ultimate Road Map To Your Body. 

Query: Directions from HEART to FINGER. Transportation method: BLOOD.
Distance: Varies per person. 
Time: We didn't have to know that for the test.
View: Map. Satellite images only for medical students. Trust me, those books are NOT as pretty as Netter.

START: Left ventricle. Make the only legal exit possible, through Aortic valve. Avoid turnoffs to coronary arteries--they're probably congested at this stage in life. *Avoid mitral valve--it's a one-way.

CONTINUE on Ascending Aorta to Aortic Arch.
TURN onto Brachiocephalic Trunk.
CONTINUE on Subclavian Artery.
CONTINUE on Axillary Artery.

After Lower Margin of Teres Major, CONTINUE on Brachial Artery.
BEAR onto Radial Artery at fork. If you reach Common Interosseous Artery, you've made the rookie mistake of bearing onto Ulnar Artery.

BEAR onto Superficial Palmar Branch of Radial Artery.
CONTINUE on Superficial Palmar Arterial Arch.
BEAR onto Common Palmar Digital Artery.
CONTINUE on Proper Palmar Digital Artery to your final destination.
I'd like 10% of the profits, Google.

***CREDIT: All photos shamelessly iPhoto-stolen from my dearest Netter. 

Rachel: The Case Study

Hello friends! Here's an update with a picture, since that counts as 1000 words. I took this of Rachel the other day, and since she was so kind as to just offer me a corner of her PB&J, she gets an entire blog post about this photo. (Note: Rachel has given informed consent for this blog post). 

Rachel, a 24 year old WF, presents here with CLASSIC med school attire, illustrative of many aspects of our lifestyle. 
First, note the scrubs. Rachel is a rockstar at anatomy and has a particular love of the shoulder. Last week, she spent time in the anatomy lab dissecting, which explains why she's in her (super classy Brigham!) scrubs. However, you can also see that she's wearing professional shoes. This is most likely due to the fact that she's had contact with patients (standardized or with a preceptor) earlier in the day. Finally, it should be noted that she is wearing a white coat. We are required to wear our white coats whenever we have patient contact. In this case, however, since the scrubs indicate that Rachel has most recently been in the lab, we can assume that she is wearing the white coat to avoid freezing in our VERY air-conditioned building.  
Rachel presents with several other details that help us obtain a full picture of her current lifestyle. The earphones are most likely supplying her with a steady stream of Lady Gaga (yet another reason why Rachel is the best.) She can also be seen deeply investigating something in a textbook. Our classmates have differing opinions of textbooks. I personally don't use many, except Netter's Clinical Anatomy and Netter's Atlas, which frequently accompany me into both my bed and my shower.
Assessment/Plan: Rachel is a rockstar medical student. She is studying even though it is beautiful and sunny outside. She should keep up the good work and come back to the blog frequently for checkups. 

There we have it! Rachel, the case study. Please note that I should get marked down for not noting her last menstrual period or obtaining any information as to her end-of-life values. I'm still working on that bit. 

A Day In The Life

Being a medical student is more than a full time job, as anyone who is close to a medical student is well aware. Being part of the inaugural class of a medical school is no different. In addition, our class members here at CES COM have the unique opportunity of being able to start and shape different aspects of our program. Here’s an idea of what we’re doing on a day to day basis.

8:00am --10:00/12:00: Depending on the day, we have anywhere from 1 to 4 hour-long lectures.  These go very quickly, as there’s a huge volume of material to cover. So far, lecture topics have included embryology, biochemistry, genetics, histology (the study of what all of these body tissues look like under the microscope), pharmacology, microbiology, and immunology. Since we have an integrated curriculum, many aspects of these lectures overlap. For instance, we learned about the development and histology of the lungs, the biochemistry of lung surfactant, and dysfunction of membrane channel proteins while working on a case about cystic fibrosis during Problem Based Learning.

Hands-on studying: drawing some dermatome borders. A dermatome is the segment of skin innervated by one spinal segment.

10:00-12:00: On days that we only have two lectures in the AM, we go straight to PBL, or Problem-Based-Learning. Here, we sit around a table with a whiteboard and are given information about a fictitious patient whose ailment we must research. It combines basic science with clinical work, as we have to research basic things we don't know about (the biological basis of these diseases) as well as the clinical process of making a diagnosis and caring for the patient (what are normal lab tests to order? what do they measure? How do you tell a patient bad news?) This happens 2-3 times per week. 

Tuesdays are a little different. Tuesdays are anatomy days! We have anatomy lecture in the morning, followed by lab. Here, our PBL group is broken down so that four people are dissecting, two people are learning the bones from the "bone box" (box of plastic bones), and two people are learning what the anatomy looks like when using imaging techniques. We reconvene on our own time to teach each other what we've learned. So far, we’ve covered the entire upper half of the body, minus the head and neck.

12:00: Lunch! This is when all of our student interest groups take time to meet. Some of the groups that have been started thus far include AMSA, AMWA, Global Health, and a variety of specialty interest groups.

1:00-5:00: This is where it really varies. On Monday and Fridays, or Wednesdays and Fridays (depending on when we see our community preceptors), we have independent study time. Every day, our IT people record the lectures and post them. In the evenings, you'll find most of us going through the day's lectures at double speed in our respective study cubbies, which are our home base at school. We've even started to decorate: 

On Tuesdays, we usually have lectures and small group discussions relating to the more human side of medicine, such as ethics or problems in healthcare. Thursdays, we learn clinical skills, like taking a history or performing a physical exam. Wednesday is our day to go out into the community and observe our Preceptor, a doctor who has agreed to take us on for two years in order to show us the real life application of all of these clinical skills and allow us to practice the clinical skills we learn at school.

There you have it! Look out for future posts detailing different aspects of our new lives as medical students, including what our interest groups are up to, what extracurricular activities we’re starting, and what we plan to do during our summer!